IN THIS ARTICLE:
- What are ceramides?
- Different types of ceramides
- Why are ceramides important?
- Reinforce skin barrier function
- Prevent transepidermal water loss
- Help skin tolerate active ingredients
- Reduce signs of aging
- Alleviate skin inflammation
- Ceramides in Graydon Skincare products
- Final words
In today’s article, we’re going to discuss ceramides. These ingredients are extremely important to skin health and I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve. So let’s take some time and learn about why you should include ceramides in your skincare routine.
What are ceramides?
In order to talk about ceramides, we must first discuss our skin barrier function.
I’ve mentioned it before here and there, but basically, the skin barrier is the skin's first layer of defence. It slows down the transepidermal water loss process, blocks out foreign substances and environmental stressors (such as dirt, bacteria, UV rays, etc.) and fights off oxidative stress.
The skin barrier is made up of dead skin cells, also known as corneocytes, that are stacked on top of each other. These cells are bound together by a glue-y substance made up of cholesterol, free fatty acids, cholesteryl sulfate and ceramides.
So what exactly are ceramides?
Think of it this way, ceramides refer to a specific group of fatty molecules, also known as lipids, that are naturally found in our skin. They make up about 50% of the substance that holds corneocytes together.(1)
Sadly, as our body ages and we grow wiser, the amount of ceramides in our skin naturally decreases. This translates to drier and thinner skin that is more prone to fine lines, wrinkles and other general skin concerns.
Different types of ceramides
Based on my use of the plural noun, you may have guessed that there’s more than one type of ceramide.
If so, you’re absolutely correct!
In fact, nine different types of ceramides have been identified in the skin. Generally, they appear on a product’s ingredient list as ceramide 1, 2, 6-II, AP, EOS, EOP, NG, NP or NS.
Why are ceramides important?
As I mentioned, ceramides play an important role in the composition of your skin barrier. Let’s discuss the ways ceramides help your skin.
Reinforce skin barrier function
It’s easy for our skin to lose ceramides, whether due to aging, skin conditions like eczema or bad skincare habits such as over-cleansing or excessive exfoliating. No matter what the reason is, a loss of ceramides means an impaired skin barrier, which leads to other skin issues.
By using products with ceramides, you can nourish and strengthen your skin barrier, helping it to function properly.
Prevent transepidermal water loss
I’ve talked about transepidermal water loss before, but to quickly recap, it's a natural process that our skin uses to regulate its water content. Basically, as the day goes on, water naturally evaporates from our skin.
While it’s a totally natural and important process, excess loss in moisture is never ideal, as it means that fine lines and wrinkles become more visible, your skin appears dull and is more prone to environmental stressors.
Help skin tolerate active ingredients
Active ingredients are superheroes of the skincare world thanks to their many superpowers. Particularly, ingredients like retinoids and vitamin C have a proven track record in skincare. Unfortunately, some actives can also irritate our skin if misused or over used.
Luckily, ceramides can help!
These little goodies are known to alleviate certain symptoms of skin irritation, especially those caused by harsh active ingredients. This makes sense, considering the main role of ceramides is to strengthen and protect our skin.
Reduce signs of aging
Ceramides also have pro-aging effects.
Since they help prevent your skin from excessive moisture loss, your skin stays hydrated. When skin is hydrated it looks healthier, plumper and more supple. And when your skin is plump, any fine lines and wrinkles you may have are also less indented and visible.
Ceramides also help protect your skin from environmental stressors. Stressors like harsh air, pollution and UV rays can contribute to oxidative stress, which causes the collagen and elastin in your skin to break down. Once that happens, your skin ages prematurely. By protecting your skin, ceramides can also slow down this premature aging process.
Alleviate skin inflammation
Certain inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis can be linked to dehydrated skin and a weakened skin barrier.
While there is no cure, dermatologists stress the importance of keeping your skin hydrated if you suffer from one of these skin conditions. Doing so will help alleviate some of the symptoms such as redness and irritation. Ceramides are especially useful, as they not only can keep your skin hydrated, but also strengthen and reinforce a weakened skin barrier. This helps to soothe angry and irritated skin.
Ceramides in Graydon Skincare products
Given all the benefits of ceramides, of course we had to include this ingredient in the Graydon Skincare lineup!
Our Skin Stuff Face + Eye Cream is an ultralight ceramide moisturizing cream that’s perfect for people with sensitive skin. It offers enhanced skin barrier protection and soothing hydration for thirsty skin that’s also prone to acne.
To be honest, I’ve always thought of Skin Stuff as an under-appreciated product. This simple cream was designed to moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier. That’s it. There was no need to add any bells or whistles. It’s a perfectly-designed moisturizer, formulated with humectants (such as maple sap water and glycerin), emollients (such as black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil) and occlusives (such as rosehip oil and pomegranate seed oil).
But of course, Skin Stuff couldn’t be called a “ceramide moisturizing cream” without the ceramide. That’s why we formulated it with a healthy dose of ceramide NP, helping you to reap all the benefits that ceramides offer. And true to the Graydon Skincare ethos, our ceramide is plant-based!
Ceramides are lipids that our skin naturally produces as part of the skin barrier, making them an incredible ingredient to add into our skincare routine. Not only do they function as a moisturizer, they also help to reinforce the skin barrier, strengthen the skin, prevent TEWL, reduce skin inflammation, reduce signs of aging and help your skin tolerate active ingredients better.
Our Skin Stuff Face + Eye Cream is a simple, yet incredibly effective moisturizer that just about anyone can add into their routine. With regular use, the ceramide can help to improve the overall health of your skin.
Skin irritation is a common concern and it's closely linked to skin barrier function. Click here to learn what our experts have to say about soothing your irritated skin.
(1) Borodzicz, S., Rudnicka, L., Mirowska-Guzel, D. et al. The role of epidermal sphingolipids in dermatologic diseases. Lipids Health Dis 15, 13 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-016-0178-7
(2) Spada, Fabrizio et al. “Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 11 491-497. 15 Oct. 2018, doi:10.2147/CCID.S177697